August 27, 2008

Felner: Thank Goodness he's not our problem!

We shouldn't care about Robert Felner any more.

After all, the University of Louisville Dean of the College of Education is not our problem. He came thisclose to becoming Chancellor of UW-Parkside, (at a $50,000 cut in pay from the UofL) but an unexpected FBI investigation spared us barely a week before his investiture here.

Still, as the revelations pile up, it's hard to turn away. Like watching the Titanic hit the iceberg. The good news is that while Felner may have been the iceberg, we are not the Titanic, thanks to dumb luck and serendipitously wonderful timing. The Titanic role is being played by the University of Louisville.

So what's the latest?
-- Once given credit by UofL President James Ramsey for bringing "more than $40 million" in grants to the university, a review of public records by the Louisville Eccentric Observer shows that Felner "was only personally involved ... in bringing in about $1 million in total grants during his tenure." And $694,000 of that is the No Child Left Behind grant "funneled to a defunct nonprofit headed by a longtime friend and former associate of Felner," and the subject of that first FBI investigation.
But mostly it's the emails ... hundreds of emails that prove two things: UW-Parkside didn't look very carefull into the background of its presumptive chancellor. They also show that an awful lot of administrators at the UofL didn't realize that emails are forever. What's there?
-- Emails that show the University trying to cover its butt as things started to unravel, and failing at first even to preview materials first released to the media.

-- Emails showing Felner and the University finding ways to disguise travel funds to and from his estranged wife in Rhode Island.

-- Emails detailing what Felner called "creative solutions" that crafted his pay package.

-- Emails denigrating his critics ("...Sam is, between us, the purest B.S.r I have ever met.") and trying to hand-pick his successor.

-- Emails showing that UofL administrators knew Felner was a problem more than a year before he appeared willing to leave.
And on, and on, it goes. PageOneKentucky.com has sorted through hundreds of them, and posted scores online. (And they have 158,000 more emails to go through!) At the very least, everyone who had a part in recommending Felner for the Parkside post ought to be forced to read them all... and then write a 10-page essay: "Why I will never again serve on a search committee."

For links to all the older revelations, go to our listing of The Felner Chronicles in the Schools section of RacinePost.com.

2 comments:

  1. Great reporting by the Post!
    God willing we will see this done with RUSD and Downtown Racine Corp. Bid #1 that they "manage" for a fee could have interesting information such as do they give no bids out to WRJN perhaps a conflict since that would mean $$ to a member business when there could be other less expensive better radio stations
    We could find out how bids in fact are handled and other interesting info.
    Thank you Post for showing there is a newspaper in town

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  2. Things aren't as they appear8/28/2008 12:43 PM

    Someone needs to interview the downtown merchants and blow the whistle on how the DRC is serving them, or more accurately, using them. There is scuttlebutt amongst the merchants but the complaints fall upon deaf ears to the DRC board, executive board, city leadership and Johnsons.

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